AT&T slashes test data provisioning to minutes and time-to-market by 80%

We’re on a journey to modernize our apps and to realize the benefits of embracing a DevOps methodology. But while implementing a DevOps methodology and moving to agile is great in theory, you hit a roadblock if you don’t have realistic data to test against. K2View Test Data Management provides a self-service approach for our teams to provision test data on demand – without impacting production source systems.

Ward Chewning
Vice President of Network Services and Shared Platform, AT&T

The business impact for AT&T

With K2View Test Data Management, AT&T was able to:

Cut the time to create test data from weeks to minutes
Accelerate development speed-to-market by 80%
Reduce
manual testing resources
by 30%

AT&T Communications is the world’s largest telecommunications company, the largest provider of mobile telephone services, and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States.

As part of providing these services and an exceptional customer experience, the company is continuously developing and improving applications for both customers and internal operational support. However, despite its adoption of DevOps and Agile methodologies, its lack of fast, on-demand access to realistic test data prevented the rapid time-to-market it needed.

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Key goals

  • Cut the time to provision test data from weeks to minutes
  • Improve speed-to-market by eliminating test data bottlenecks throughout software release cycles
  • Reduce overall test data management operational costs
  • Ensure test data integrity and compliance

To realize these goals, AT&T adopted K2View Test Data Management across all AT&T Business and Consumer Apps, providing the company with high-quality test data to drive agile development, while remaining compliant.

Key challenges

Communications firms, including wireless carriers, cable, and media companies, have enormous amounts of data on their customers, networks, devices, plans, and more. Providing access to the right data at the right time—and to the right person—can transform the customer experience. That’s true whether it is via the web, or mobile apps, or simply providing the support team the insights it needs to provide fast, knowledgeable service. That’s what DevOps is all about—enabling companies to quickly develop, test, and deploy customer and operational systems that keep customers happy.

Testing these apps is where most DevOps and Agile development pipelines slow to a crawl. That’s because the data needed to adequately test and re-test each app is trapped in siloed systems and databases.

Traditional Test Data Management (TDM) involves manual requests, multiple teams, and time-consuming database backups and restores. This means provisioning test data alone can take days or even weeks. Despite the agility a DevOps pipeline promises, this prolongs each test cycle and forces a time-to-market cycle from three to six months—at best.

In addition to negatively impacting time-to-market, traditional TDM’s dependence on manual processes means data experts are tasked with repetitive busy-work instead of higher value-added work. That means the cost to support testing—not to mention masking data to keep it secure—continues to rise over time.

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Solution and results

Unique approach to test data management delivers measurable business outcomes

What AT&T needed was the ability to rapidly access the data it needed for testing, then organize it, and deliver on demand.

Because K2View TDM performs 1,000 times faster than traditional test data management tools, AT&T can now provision fresh data, scrub and mask it in-flight, reducing test data creation to a self-service task that takes just minutes, not days or weeks.

K2View TDM also eliminates redundant test environments, saving costs on equipment and maintenance, while having zero impact on current operational systems.

Provisioning test data by business entities

K2View TDM takes a business entity approach to provisioning test data. It enables test teams to model 'digital entities' - corresponding to business entities, such as customer, household, location, device - to provision trusted test data with referential integrity.

Testing teams can access the data on demand, via a web portal or APIs, cutting test data preparation efforts by as much as 30%.

Continuous data sourcing from ANY source

K2View TDM’s Micro-Database design allows any data source—traditional RDBMS, legacy systems, big data warehouses/lake, flat files, web services, cloud apps and more—to be integrated, organized into business entities, and continuously updated to the test data warehouse.

Central, dynamic masking, modification, and generation of data

K2View TDM can access and automatically subset data without massive bulk copying, and perform in-flight data masking, transformations, and validation. That means test data is always current, compliant, and in the form it’s needed for the test systems.

See what on-demand test data provisioning can deliver for your enterprise